2018 Year in Pictures
2018 started off with a bang!
In January, Rogue Riverkeeper traveled to Salem to rally with hundreds on the capitol steps against the climate impacts of the proposed Jordan Cove LNG project. A report released by Oil Change International and our partners at Rogue Climate, found that if built, Jordan Cove LNG would become the largest greenhouse gas emitter for the state of Oregon and would contribute 15 times more GHG’s into the atmosphere than Oregon’s Boardman Coal plant. We made sure that Governor Brown heard us loud and clear that she needs to be a climate champion for the people of Oregon by stopping the Jordan Cove LNG project.
We also participated in Standing Stone Brewing Company’s Pints for a Purpose program. Every year, Standing Stone receives submissions from local nonprofits that align with their mission to enhance environmental sustainability, local food, education and community. Then, employees select the winners. Standing Stone donated $2 for every pint sold on our special night! We had a great time talking to folks about our mission and actions, answering questions, and inviting people to future 2018 events. It’s not often that you can drink a beer in the name of supporting your favorite cause.
In February, we participated in a hearing around important stormwater permits that impact the Rogue. An MS4II permit is needed by small to medium sized cities to regulate the amount of pollution that enters gutters, storm drains and eventually our rivers and creeks. Rogue Riverkeeper was one of two conservation groups in the state participating in meetings and hearings around this permit to strengthen the language and overall regulations for clean water in the Rogue. Stacey testified at a MS4II permit hearing in Salem and spent much of the month writing extensive comments on the permit.
The cool, dark days of winter is the best time to invite community indoors to join us for our Winter Speaker Series. Every year, we offer a monthly event, often at a local restaurant or bar, where small panels of people talk about hot topics for the Rogue! This year, we focused presentations on the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act as we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of this important legislation. We hosted over 180 people at five events and covered topics including the Rogue River’s Wild & Scenic unique designation, fish species found in the Rogue, Tim Palmer’s Wild & Scenic River’s: American Legacy book, and recreating in our watershed. 2019’s Winter Speaker Series will begin at the end of January and occur monthly through April.
In March, two of our staff Robyn Janssen and Stacey Detwiler, were on the front lines defending clean water in the Rogue River Basin. Robyn traveled to Portland to testify on behalf of Rogue Riverkeeper at a Department of Environmental Quality permit hearing for Suction Dredge Mining. RRK joined allies in supporting modifications to a permit to ensure its compliance with SB 3, a law passed in 2017 to limit suction dredge mining in Oregon’s salmon bearing streams and rivers.
Meanwhile, Stacey was in Salem speaking to the Board of Forestry (BOF) to urge them to include the Siskiyou region in their stream buffer monitoring program as it had not been previously included! The Oregon BOF had increased riparian buffer zones on small streams on private forestland in regions north of the Rogue Basin but did not include stream protections for those found in southern Oregon! Stacey testified at the hearing asking the BOF to include the Siskiyou region in their monitoring strategy. She and others were successful in gaining ground and the BOF agreed to a 2018/2019 monitoring strategy and literature review. We continue to pressure the BOF to include our region for better stream protections.
April: After a long, but successful day of trash removal, Willy the RRK Office Dog rests. April is Earth Month and we were busy getting out into the community! During this time, we hosted a clean-up event along our beloved Bear Creek and Greenway where we spent time pulling weeds, clearing debris, and removing trash. This event is part of the Bear Creek Stewardship Day effort, a series of clean up events along Bear Creek in the cities of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford and Central Point. This year, we collected over 300 lbs of waste!
We also contributed to the awesome Earth Day event at ScienceWorks! We had a table where we talked with folks about how we work to protect the Rogue watershed and our planet while offering a kids coloring activity with fish bookmarks!
May: To kickoff paddling season, we co-hosted the High Water Party at Gil’s in Ashland! A fundraiser for American Whitewater and Rogue Riverkeeper, Ninkasi and Gil’s threw an awesome event to celebrate rivers and support the health of our local water systems. Many enjoyed live music, a raffle, and delish food and drink. We hope to participate in this event again in 2019!
On a gorgeous day in June, we really amped up the 50th Anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act celebration! Gathering at Valley of the Rogue State Park, federal agencies, conservation non-profits, and local businesses came together to offer a day of free fun to the public in honor of our beloved Rogue River. The family-friendly event had local food trucks and beverages, activities for the kids, informational booths, guest speakers, live music, and more! Over 300 people attended this successful celebration for the Rogue! Be sure to ‘Like’ Rogue Riverkeeper’s Facebook page to keep up-to-date on 2019 events!
Summer: Some of the most important work that we do here at Rogue Riverkeeper is often not “photo-worthy”. The images would contain day-after-day snapshots of our Conservation Director, Stacey Detwiler, intently looking at her computer! What does she do for SO many long hours?!
From May through August, Stacey read through and commented on a FIVE THOUSAND page permit application from Jordan Cove LNG to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), for an important Clean Water Act permit that the project would need to move forward. One of Rogue Riverkeeper’s key roles is to act as watchdog over companies zeroed in on development that will impact our waterways. We analyze their Clean Water Act permit applications for inconsistencies, inaccuracies, missing information, and inadequate mitigation proposals. With help from coalition partners, we submitted over 200 pages of comments in regards to this important permit! And along with coalition partners, we successfully saw more than 42,000 public comments submitted opposing the required Clean Water Act permit for Jordan Cove LNG making it the most public comments Oregon DEQ has ever received! Oregon DEQ concluded that the permit application was incomplete and started the clock over for the company to bring them more information, successfully stalling the project once more.
From June through September, Rogue Riverkeeper runs a water quality monitoring program that collects samples from approximately 20 different locations in the Rogue River Basin to track bacterial levels and ensure that our waters are safe for recreation. This summer marked our fifth year of the program with new and returning volunteers - plus one stellar Water Quality Monitoring Intern - collecting weekly samples for analysis to then post on our our Swim Guide page.
Want to know more? Navigate to the main Swim Guide site to learn more about the over 7,000 beaches in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, the Bahamas, and Australia. Want to be a volunteer and get involved in water quality sampling this summer? Visit our website and sign up!
September is when we take our yearly adventure down the Wild & Scenic Rogue River with ten lucky supporters and ROW Adventures.
Every year, we partner with this amazing outfitter to offer a 4-day, 3-night rafting trip to our members and supporters. The trip is a wonderful opportunity to experience our backyard Wild & Scenic river and its wilderness. Rogue Riverkeeper staff come along to talk about our work protecting the Rogue and proceeds from the trip help support Rogue Riverkeeper’s work. This year’s trip was a great way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our Wild & Scenic Rogue River!
If you’re interested in joining us on this year’s adventure September 12 - 15th, contact ROW Adventures to make your reservation today.
October is the time for celebrating salmon! Every fall, we host several Salmon Strolls along the shores of the Rogue and Bear Creek in an attempt to see spawning salmon. Chinook born in our local waterways make their way to the ocean to live for several years, then voyage back to return to their place of birth to lay eggs, rear young, and eventually die. This year, Rogue Riverkeeper also partnered with the local Salmon Watch program to guide elementary and middle school students along our river banks to learn about salmon anatomy, riparian zones, macroinvertebrates, and water quality.
While it’s the busiest time of year for Rogue Riverkeeper, we never miss the opportunity to attend the Bear Creek Salmon Festival held in Ashland at North Mountain Park! Alongside conservation partners, we celebrate the Bear Creek Watershed and salmon returning to the creek with interactive exhibits on improving salmon and wildlife habitat in our region and on watershed stewardship in our own homes and yards.
Hello November, one of our favorite months of the year. It’s film festival time! We hosted our most successful Wild & Scenic Film Fest event since it’s inception six years ago raising over $8,000 for Rogue Riverkeepers efforts! Considered one of the nation’s premiere environmental and adventure film festivals, the Wild and Scenic films combine stellar filmmaking, beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling to inform, inspire, and ignite solutions and possibilities to restore the earth and human communities while creating a positive future for the next generation.
Hosted at the Historic Ashland Armory, this year’s film festival brought together a sold out crowd of awesome folks to enjoy an inspirational keynote speaker, local tamales, brews and wine, amazing auction prizes, and opportunities to speak with some of the most active conservation non-profits in southern Oregon. Thank you for making this event so much fun!
December is often a welcome month for staff at Rogue Riverkeeper bringing a slower schedule and time to reflect on the year, take care of odds and ends, and start planning for next year. With most of our yearly events behind us, it’s time to gather for 2019 planning and focus on some year end fundraising so we can keep up the fight to protect clean water in the Rogue Basin!
However, this year came with a bit of a scramble as the Oregon Wildlands Bill, that we’d been working on all year to gain support for, found itself on the Senate floor and moving toward a vote. Communication with Senator Wyden’s office and coalition partners resulted in a mad dash over 48 hours to drum up support for the bill and phone calls to senators that were looking to block its passage. At the very last minute, Senator Wyden compromised with the agreement that Wild & Scenic designations in the bill would move forward for a vote in January ensuring new protections for clear water streams along the Rogue. THANK YOU Senator Wyden, Senator Merkley and Representative DeFazio.